In the midst of Kakko-mania Vitali Kravtsov should not be overshadowed
The ninth overall pick from the 2018 Entry Draft had his moment to shine in the eyes of Rangers fans, but that moment shouldn’t end with the addition of this year’s first-round pick, Kaapo Kakko. Although Kakko has had all of the media hype and attention, as he should, being a player of his caliber and the immediate help he brings the Rangers, Vitali Kravtsov is here, and his time is now.
Kravtsov signed his three-year entry-level deal with the Rangers back on May 3 and has now spent the last two months in New York before the Player Developmental Camp got underway yesterday. While speaking with the media after his first workout in his Ranger threads, Kravstov expressed how excited, and how ready he is to make an immediate jump into the NHL.
Facing the media in New York is one of the toughest things to do as a young player for any team in the area, but especially as a 19-year-old kid who has just learned the language and came over to the States a mere two months ago. But the way Kravtsov deals with these situations, with his veteran-like demeanor, is one of the many reasons the Rangers selected him. You can’t teach character in a player, especially a young one. The way Kravtsov carries himself like he’s an experienced NHL player, only pushes him up the ranks with the organization, as it did last year at the draft.
Kravtsov is expected to play in the NHL with the Rangers next season. His style of play combined with his playmaking abilities will only do positive things for the Rangers offensively. Kravtsov was the KHL rookie of the year for the 2017-18 season, at just 18 years old. This past season, he posted 21 points (8G, 13A) in 50 games for Traktor, but it was in the World Junior tournament where he excelled. Scoring six points (2G, 4A) in the seven games at the U20 tournament, while posted 16 points in 16 games in the International Junior tournament, Kravtsov brings the Rangers scoring a multitude of things that they hope is on full display next season.
Getting accustomed to the NHL-style of play won’t be easy for Kravtsov, but the organization hopes for him to excel at the next level is at the same point it is for Kaapo Kakko, as both young forwards hope to lead the team for the next decade.